Winter has well and truly arrived in Australia, and while some of us revel the opportunity to rug up in a blanket next to a fire, others are prepared to hide out for the next three months until the sun re-joins us in its full, glorious, heat-spreading loveliness.
At some point though, almost all of us will get the itch to breathe in fresh air not polluted by embers and dusty heaters, and release our bodies from the confines of our homes and offices.
Luckily, we live in a country that offers something for everyone at all times of the year. Here are five road trips you should consider taking for a mid-year getaway to either escape the colder months, or make the most of them.
SAVANNAH WAY – CAIRNS TO BROOME
If you’re suffering from the cold, then cruising Australia’s tropical coastline might be just what the doctor ordered. The Savannah Way connects Cairns in Queensland to the historical town of Broome in Western Australia. You’ll experience the balmy Tropical North Queensland, Northern Territory’s Top End before arriving in Western Australia’s Kimberley, passing through 15 National Parks and five World Heritage areas.
Along the 3700km drive, you’ll be rewarded with views of ancient gorges, endless horizons and Australian wildlife, but to really get the most out of it, we highly recommend taking a four-wheel drive.
Pair with: Toyota LandCruiser 79, Nissan Y61 Patrol Legend Edition
EXPLORER’S WAY – ADELAIDE TO DARWIN
Option two also maximises cloudless skies and sunny days, but instead of coastal horizons and leafy rainforests, this trip along the Stuart Highway will lead you through the Red Centre.
It’s a similar distance as the Savannah Way, with this trip clocking 3,200km on the car, but along the way you’ll be enjoying vast arid lands and red dirt.
This is a part of Australia very few Australians experience but while endless plains of nothingness may sound dull, we guarantee this is an adventure you’ll never forget. Not to mention you’ll be soaking up sunrays rather than drenching it out in torrential rain.
This trip can be tackled in a two-wheel drive vehicle, but if you want to explore, we suggest you look into tackling the Oodnadatta Track which is the unsealed and more adventurous route.
Pair with: Volkswagen Amarok, Ford Ranger Wildtrak
Those looking to embrace the cold, and head to even cooler climates may want to take a look at the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. It’s lush, green and only two hours out of Sydney.
Make sure you take it slowly on this trip as you wind your way up the mountain roads, escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, because it can get wet and slippery up here, but this one is really a driver’s delight.
You’ll be passing quaint little towns like Glenbrook or Leura, where you can warm your soul with homemade soups, hearty meals and explore vintage shops.
And those who are looking to get the heart rate up a bit more, there are countless adventures in this spectacular part of our country, from canyons, walks through national parks and even caving expeditions into the Jenolan Caves.
Pair with: Volkswagen Golf GTI, Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate
LAUNCESTON TO HOBART
What better way to make the most of Australia’s winter than heading toward one of the coldest parts of the country – Tasmania.
This little island-state offers more spectacular drives than we can possibly include in this list, but one solid option is the journey between the two main cities will allow you to see some of the more iconic locations.
Travelling Tasmania’s east, there are a couple of routes to link these two metropolitan centres, but we suggest taking the coastal route which will take you through the famous Bay of Fires, Binalong Bay, Port Arthur and Freycinet National Park.
Pair with: Holden Commodore SS-V, Chrysler 300 SRT
SNOW FIELDS – ALL OF THEM
While summer may be about lazing around in the sun, the highlight of winter in Australia is our snowfields. Sure, they may not compare to Canada or New Zealand, but our slopes are still high-quality and stunningly beautiful. You can take your pick here: in Victoria, you’ve got Mount Hotham, Lake Mountain, Falls Creek, Mount Buller or Mount Baw Baw, and in New South Wales you have the choice of Perisher, Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, or Selwyn Snowfield.
Really, any of the alpine destinations you choose offer an excellent drive – not only are you rewarded with beautiful views of snow-capped mountains at the end, but mostly your journey there will take you through spectacular, windswept, forest-like roads.
The largest resort is Perisher, and if you travel around 9-12 June, you can combine your trip with the Peak Music Festival.
Obviously make sure you read up on how to drive in the snow safely before you go. We recommend driving a four-wheel drive for added traction if the roads turn icy, and make sure your snow chain hire is organised and you’ve learnt how to put these on your car.
Pair with: Mazda CX-9, Audi RS6
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